by Natalie

we met our soon to be puppy when he was two weeks old at the beginning of the month. he will soon be old enough to take home, i’m hoping sometime mid may (:

we are all very eager to bring him home and i have been doing research non stop, but upon my research, more than one occasion, i saw that tug of war is a big NO with any dog because it will lead to behavioral problems with aggression. but yet you’ll watch some dog food commercial and it will show the family happily playing a good ol’ game of tug of war.

and helloooo they sell ropes in the dog store specifically for the game. many people play it with they’re puppies and older dogs and the dogs are sweet as can be! however people already have a bad idea about rottweilers and i’d hate to enforce any aggressive tendencies especially at a young age.

my question is more…will it aggressively stimulate his brain…or is it just another fun game to them? we haven’t gone shopping yet but when we do i would hate to purchase something that will lead to problems down the road!!

please help
thank you (:

Hi Natalie
This is an area when the size and type of dog you are playing with can play a role, as can individual personality. It’s not that you can’t play tug-of-war with ANY puppy or dog, just that with many of them it’s not advisable for the very reasons you’ve discovered.

Any dog who is extremely self-confident or has any ‘alpha’ tendencies shouldn’t play this game (even if they’re a tiny breed!), and it’s not recommended for large breed dogs particularly those in the ‘guardian’ category, or breeds that naturally tend to be very mouthy or nippy (such as herding dogs).

There are two main reasons for this. One, because this type of play encourages a puppy to use his mouth and to bite at something that is in a human hand, it can make the normal puppy ‘nippiness’ worse and let them think that trying to snatch (or pull) something from your hand is okay. But it’s not.

Two, because it encourages a puppy to work against his owner and to resist something he/she is trying to do (ie pull the tug toy from his mouth, or ‘win’). The pup doesn’t distinguish between play and reality and when he ‘wins’ then it gives him a false sense of his own strength and superiority, which can transfer over into other areas.

Any aggressive tendencies usually stem from one, or both, of these scenarios. You don’t want a pup (or dog) to think that they can beat you at anything, that they’re stronger than you, or that it’s okay for them to use their mouth near your hands, or on something you are holding.

If you absolutely want to play this type of game then you can do it occasionally if you follow this advice…

make sure you win more than your pup does

YOU decide when the game ends, and when it does you let your pup ‘win’ that round, then have him give you the toy in exchange for a treat, and you put the toy away out of sight.

teach your pup the ‘leave it’ command so that you can get him to drop any toy (or any other object) at your command. You’ll find advice on how to do this on my Free Puppy Training Tips page.

Play gently, not roughly and don’t encourage growling or snapping. If your pups teeth touch your hand, tell him ‘no’ firmly and stop playing the game.

Rope toys are good tug toys, but that’s not the only reason they’re sold. Puppies and dogs love to chew on the texture of rope toys, and that texture helps to keep their teeth tartar-free!

Anyway, hope this helps. Best of luck with your new puppy.

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Apr 25, 2011


thank u!
by: natalie

thanks so much for taking the time to reply. ill be sure not to play that game often, if at all!

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